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Arduino Drum Pad & Game 


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Arduino Drum Pad & Game 

Written By: Riley Porter 




• Scissors (1) 

• Mousepad (1) 

Sharpie marker (1) 

• Junk CD/DVD (1) 

• White glue (1) 

• Hook-up wire (1) 

• 3.9k resistor (1) 

Piezo Sensor (1) 

Packing foam (1) 

Solderless breadboard (1) 

Drumsticks (1) 


This fun and easy project shows you how to create a simple input device with little more 
than a cheap piezo sensor, an old mousepad, and an Arduino board. Using household 
supplies and a few passive electrical components, you can create a basic physical- 
computing game input device for your Arduino. 

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Arduino Drum Pad & Game 

Step 1 — Introducing the drum pad input device and game 

• The drum pad is used to input "beats" into the Arduino system. The Arduino is able to read 
the beats from from the drum pad through the piezo sensor. 

• The object of the Processing game is to get as many "beats" as possible in a 5-second 
time frame. Currently 33 beats is my high score! 

Step 2 — Trace the CD outline onto your mousepad material. 

• Cut the traced circle out. You should now have a circular piece of mousepad. This will 
become our drumpad. 

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Arduino Drum Pad & Game 

Step 3 — Attaching the piezo sensor 

• Solder two wires to the two discs of the piezo sensor (as shown in the first image). 

• Make sure that the solder joint on the outer disk of the sensor does not touch the 
inner disk of the sensor. 

• Tape the piezo sensor to the CD or DVD with the solder joints facing up (see second 
image). Make sure that you center the piezo sensor accordingly. 

Step 4 — Putting your drum pad head together. 


• Glue the CD or DVD onto the mousepad with regular white (Elmer's) glue. 

• Use a few heavy books to keep pressure on the mousepad while it dries. 

• Let sit for at least 10 to 20 minutes. 

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Arduino Drum Pad & Game 

Step 5 — Creating the drum pad base 

• Trace the CD or DVD onto the packing foam just as we did with the mousepad. 

• Cut out the foam along your traced line. 

• Now you should have a circular piece of packing foam that will serve as the base for the 
drum pad head. 

Step 6 — Putting the whole thing together 

• Glue the cut-out packing foam to the CD or DVD with white glue. 

• Put some books on top of the drum pad again and wait. 

• Allow 10-30 minutes of drying time. 

• While waiting, you can go ahead and start creating the circuit (see next step). 

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Arduino Drum Pad & Game 

Step 7 — Building the circuit on a breadboard 

• Insert the piezo sensor leads into the breadboard. 

• Depending on the wire you used to connect the sensor, you might need to tin the 
wire or solder it to a male .100" header. 

• Connect the Arduino to your computer. 

• Open the Arduino IDE and note your serial port for the Arduino. 

• Paste in the code from the Arduino sketch attached to the "Files" section of this project 
and upload it to the Arduino. 

• You can also download the Arduino code here. 


Step 8 — Open the Processing sketch (Drum Game) 

• Change the SPORT varible in the sketch to match your Arduino's serial port (which you 
noted in the previous step). 

• In OSX it will look like /dev/cu . usbxxx 

• In Linux is will be something like /dev/sttyUSBO 

• In Windows it will be something like COM3 

• You can download the Processing sketch and Arduino firmware here . 

© Make Projects 

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Arduino Drum Pad & Game 

Step 9 — Play the game! 

• Run the Processing sketch to start 
the game. Make sure you have 
closed the Arduino IDE. From here, 
once you start the game you need 
to click anywhere on the screen to 
begin. After clicking, you will have 
5 seconds to hit the drum pad to 
register as many "beats" as 
possible. That's it! However, there 
is much room for improvement. 

• There are a few deliberate 
shortcomings included in the 
Processing sketch as well as the 
Arduino firmware. For example... 

■ I included a rocket ship in the 
Processing sketch. Perhaps, 
you could extend this sketch by 
making the ship "blast off" if you 
got a high enough score? 

You could change the Arduino 
code so that the Arduino will 
read the force of the tap and 
then use that as a multiplier for 
the total score. 

Using this simple-to-construct piece of hardware, you can create a cool input device that will 
allow you to control all sorts of fun software you can create, from a drum-practice application to 
drum-beat-controlled video games. If you do code any apps for this project, please tell us about 
them in this project's Notes. 

For more beginner's information about Arduino and Processing, check out Getting Started with 
Arduino and Getting Started with Processing . 

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Arduino Drum Pad & Game 

Also, take a look at our bi-weekly Codebox column (about using Processing) on Make: Online. 

And, to access our front door to all things Arduino on MAKE, see our Make: Arduino page. 

This document was last generated on 2012-11-01 01:59:58 PM. 

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